As the world moves even deeper into the online/social media space, there have simultaneously been louder calls for “being authentic.”
I think this is something most of us have struggled with at various stages in our lives, and not only when dealing with our online presence. The truth is, humans are social creatures whose very existence revolves around larger communities as a whole. We have been historically programmed to want to “fit into the tribe,” since not having the protection of a tribe in ancient times would have spelled trouble, or even death.
Things are obviously a little different now … but not as different as we may think! We each have felt the urge to fit into a community, be it online or otherwise, and have felt the sting of loneliness or fear when we’ve felt as if our “true selves” are rejected.
And, while this frankly sucks, it doesn’t take away the value of staying true to yourself, no matter what.
Here’s how you can find the strength to remain authentic, even in the face of all types of temptations!
Choose The Future
In a previous interview with Onnit (check it out here), I explained how in the early days of my career, I could have easily accepted certain deals or offers that would have propelled me higher in the fitness influencer sphere, faster. I’ll share why I didn’t again here:
“Again, I want to make the point that, at the beginning of my career, I think I could have escalated things a lot quicker if I had taken certain deals. There were offers on the table that may have made me a lot of money or may have helped my following grow. But I remember asking myself, “What’s the longevity in that?” It’s not who I am. If this is going to be a lifestyle and a career, it better be pretty authentic—because you can’t fake this shit forever.
There’s so much exposure with social media. There’s so much recognition. I don’t want for someone to meet me and find out that the person that I am behind the screen is someone totally different from what I am in real life.“
This is a KEY thing to remember when you’re faced with the choice of doing something that isn’t in alignment with you, simply because the opportunity seems “too good to pass up”: do you really want to be doing this type of thing forever?
OR, do you want to feel fulfilled and in alignment at all times … even if that means turning down an immediate opportunity?
The thing with accepting certain opportunities that don’t align with you is that it’s usually not a one-off. By starting down a path, you begin to establish yourself on that path. And, by establishing yourself on that path, you invite in more of the same opportunities!
My advice for retaining authenticity in every situation is to simply pause or take some time to reflect before doing anything you’re on the fence about. Determine how this thing fits into living your live authentically. Typically, if something doesn’t fit, it will just feel odd – like trying to fit into someone else’s clothes. You’ll likely also feel as though this is “just a one-time thing,” which reveals that it’s not something YOU can see yourself doing in the long term.
Know That You’ll Find Your “True” Tribe
Another key to remember is that while hiding yourself or not being authentic may lend you an opportunity in the short term, in the long term, you will likely experience unhappiness and unrest.
Because a false version of you is what is helping you “fit in” to whatever community or lifestyle you’re involved in. You won’t suddenly “become” your inauthentic self: you will simply be maintaining an image.
When you embrace the authentic You, you may lose quite a few people, as well as opportunities … but you will eventually gain the ones that are in alignment with the real You!
The time between this “loss” of people and opportunities is what typically feels scary, as you start having second thoughts about your decision. The key here is to know that you have a key role to play in this life, as YOU and only You, and that no one else can play that role.
It also helps to know that others (many, many others!) have been exactly where you are. In fact, most people who have achieved high levels of success didn’t do so because they followed the ideals of the crowd, but because they forged their own path as a unique individual.
Your unique ideas and presence is likely to be stifled if you don’t fully embrace the true You, which can also lead to living a totally unfulfilling life.
And that is definitely something you don’t want. When I say, “Let’s start living before we die,” I truly mean, “Let’s start living authentically before we die”!